Culture change 101: Collaborate with HR to drive transformation

There’s no silver bullet for culture change, but CIOs should consider partnering with their CHROs on technology architectures and processes intended to shape and influence culture.

Culture change 101: Collaborate with HR to drive results
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CIOs lament change-resistant corporate cultures as one of the biggest barriers they face in executing their digital strategy. But jettisoning unhealthy habits and comfortable modes of operating creates the kind of friction that can kill IT careers.

Changing culture is doubly hard at a time when more than 80 percent of 700 CIOs surveyed for IDG's 2019 State of the CIO survey say that corporate culture dictates the CIO role. It's hard to prescribe change, when your job is prescribed for you. It's sound logic, but it can also seem defeatist for progressive and enterprising CIOs seeking to be agents of change.

CIOs should avail themselves of an unlikely guiding light: their HR department, who are typically responsible for the mission and values of an organization. Partnering with chief human resources officers (CHROs) can help IT learn how to make technology and process design decisions to steer the desired organizational culture, says Gartner analyst Elise Olding.

For example, enterprise architecture can adopt principles that align to the cultural traits, and when business analysts design processes they can create them with the intended traits in mind. CIOs can work with HR to create diversity and inclusion scorecards, set transparent goals and measure the impacts. Collaborating with HR, Olding says, enables IT to fosters a more transparent, data-driven culture.

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